THE government is working on regulations that would halt the importation of second-hand ex-Japanese vehicles in a bid to promote the assembling of low-cost vehicles locally.
Industry and Commerce deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa said Zimbabwe was losing much needed foreign currency importing second-hand vehicles.
Local vehicle assembling company Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry has blamed its troubles on the continued importation of used cars.
A number of Zimbabweans have resorted to importing second-hand vehicles, mainly from Japan, as they are cheaper than those assembled locally.
“We have a document that we have since furnished to the Cabinet which is going to be debated on,” Mabuwa said in the Senate last week in response to a question by Zanu PF senator Shuvai Mahofa on what the government was doing to stop foreign currency outflows to import affordable cars.
“In that document, there is an issue on the manufacturing of vehicles and the issue of the money that is going out of the country to buy vehicles that come here and then break down.
“What we are doing right now is that there is a motor industry policy which we are using. It will be out very soon. It would encourage that we have four industries in Zimbabwe that are able to manufacture vehicles and to see whether they can make vehicles that can be accessed so that we do not continue to lose foreign currency,” Mabuwa said.
Previous attempts by the government to raise import duty on second-hand vehicles to deter the buying of affordable cars outside the country have been met with resistance.
The government blames the second-hand ex-Japanese vehicles for the high number of accidents while ex-Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema once proposed their ban claiming that they were a threat to the environment.
However, the government continues to gross hundreds of millions of dollars in duty charged on the importation of affordable second-hand vehicles, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.
The government in 2010 tried to ban the importation of second-hand cars, but abandoned the move following public pressure.